A Message From My Mentor

November 22, 2010 -

John Heald

The other day there was a comment on the blog from a chap who was a little miffed that our crew would possibly be saying “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays.” I wrote then that I had no idea if we were saying “Merry or Happy Christmas” for fear of upsetting those of non-Christian beliefs. So I asked someone with a beard in Miami and she told me that there were no specific guidelines on this. I am glad about this. My opinion here is that we should say both “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” therefore respecting everyone’s beliefs.

Anyway, Christmas it seems is everywhere already. This weekend the entire fleet…….minus the Carnival Splendor of course ……will be decorated for Christmas. Indeed, the mad old sod who lives next door to me was up a ladder putting his Christmas lights out and that…….trust me …….. is worthy of a blog all on its own.

Yep, it’s November 22 and as we don’t have Thanksgiving here in the UK Christmas is in the air. It was also in Heidi’s mind last night as right in the middle of the last season ever of 24 which I am currently watching on DVD, Heidi decides she wants to make a Christmas list as I will be away next week and she wants to buy the gifts. So pausing Jack Bauer who by the way has yet to take a piss in the last 7 hours, I sat in my chair and obeyed Heidi.

For those of you who are new to the blog thingy I should explain that when it comes to Christmas I do tend to become a grumpy old sod. Don’t get me wrong, I like being with the family and having Kye at an age where she may play with the $500 toy Santa gave her and not the bloody box it came in will be brilliant……it’s just the whole build-up that gets on my every nerve.

I am sure many of you are dreading it as well, nearly as you’ve been dreading your office Christmas party and the point when the Botox-lipped halitosis sufferer from accounts approaches with Pinot Grigio-fueled confidence and a sprig of mistletoe ready to suck your face off.

But what I also hate are these Christmas lists that Heidi and her pad and Carnival pen were getting ready to prepare and I would rather have tied a piece of Spam to the end of my thingy and shove a hungry rat down my underpants…….than make this Christmas list. I just don’t understand why……..why……well where do you want me to start? Why do we buy the Strutt family presents?

We haven’t seen them for 398 years but because they bought us gifts back in the 18th century we still are buying them gifts now…….even though they are only one place above blogger lemurcat on my list of friends. “Mrs Strutt collects spoons” says Heidi “Let’s get her a few of those, maybe you can pick up a few in Miami next week.” Why? What is the sodding point of collecting spoons?

It’s one of my many Christmas “why’s?” Why do men buy their wives slippers shaped like giant animal heads when their wives are not seven years old? Why do we do this secret Santa bollocks? Right now every cast of dancers and entertainment staff on the ships are organizing a secret Santa where names of the crew are put in a box and everyone has to buy them a gift regardless if you hate that person as much as a bleeding hemmorhoid…….or not.

Anyway, back to Heidi’s Christmas list. Her group of friends have decided that because we are in recession that there will be a price limit of $20 on each gift this year which means that I am going to get the crappiest Christmas gifts ever from these cheap bastard friends of mine. Trust me ……..$20 is bugger all. OK isn’t so bad for women…… people can buy you ladies things to put in your bath, in your hair plus there are scented candles and of course 2 million varieties of creams and zit removers

But if you’re a man……..you’re screwed. Because the range for you in this price bracket falls into that awful category, “novelty fun gifts.” And novelty fun gift makers think that all males were dropped on their head at the age of 13. Want to know what an internet search for $20 gifts throws up for you?

How about a humping desk dog, a thingy care kit, a T-shirt that says “FBI – Female Breast Inspector,” a pooing reindeer, a Easy Elsie pen holder (“Dip your pen in her ink well!”) and a remote control fart machine. I have decided my friends aren’t really friends at all. Each year I have asked for the same things, an Aston Martin DBS, a Rolex Daytona and Megan Fox’s bottom. Have they ever bought me any of those things…….nope…….and I am sure they wont this year which means I will get something from the “novelty fun” list and I don’t want any of that stuff. Except of course the pooing reindeer……I want the pooing reindeer……..what 45 year old man wouldn’t?

Time for today’s Q and A………….let’s crack on.

Janet Sammons Asked:
John, please reply.

In today’s blog there was a question to you regarding mass on Christmas Eve. You replied that someone in Miami is trying to put as many priests as possible on the ships. I hope you don’t really mean “priests.” I, along with a ton of other people am not Catholic. Will there just be non denominational services? Or will it really just cater to Catholics?


John Says:
Hello Janet

Yes, the office is indeed doing their best this year to putting a priest on as many ships as possible. In the next 2 weeks I will let you know which vessels will indeed have them onboard. We do tend to hire Catholic priests for this but please don’t worry as the priests are asked to conduct an interdenominational service as well as Mass.
I hope this is OK

Best wishes

LadyJag (Laura) Asked:
Dear John, (Please Reply)

As always, thank you for sharing such a fun and informative blog thingy! I really appreciate it!

I know that Easter is a long way off (it seems even longer now that I’m waiting for an Easter Carnival cruise!), but while you are checking with Mary in Miami about the priest program for Christmas, could you also please put a bug in her ear about Easter? Pretty please?

I confess I’m becoming a little obsessive-compulsive about achieving my “Platinum by 40″ goal, in which I intend to make Platinum status for my 40th birthday celebration. Carnival cruise #7 will be on board the Carnival Legend, which departs Tampa on Easter Day this coming April, but I’m starting to feel a little guilty about the timing, since I will be missing Mass at my church.

Anyway, I understand that finding a priest to say Mass during Christians’ most Holy of Holy Days will be difficult, but it would be nice to be able to celebrate Mass in the beautiful chapel on board, and maybe with enough advance notice this can happen?

If not, there is always a “Plan B,” that I’d like to share with other bloggers, if you don’t mind – http://www.masstimes.org enables you to look up Catholic churches worldwide and their Mass schedules. So anyone who will be in port on a Sunday or holiday can go to the web site ahead of time, enter an address, and see a list of area Catholic churches, their address locations, and their Mass times. Of course, the Mass may not be in English, depending on the port, but at least there’s an option.

Thanks again, John, and best wishes to your family!


John Says:
Hello Laura,

Thanks so much for that web link thingy which I am sure many of our readers will find very useful indeed. I will indeed mention your request about having religious services at Easter and as I have said here before, we need to do a better job at putting priests, ministers and rabbis onboard during the various holidays. It looks like you are on track to getting your Platinum card and I want to take this opportunity in thanking you for your loyalty to Carnival and for the kind words about the blog thingy. I will have more news on the priest program in the next 48 hours.

Best wishes

Lemurcat Asked:
Reply needed

So you have finally been honest for the first time on this poor excuse of a blog and admitted that Carnival is now charging for steak in the dining rooms. You wasted so much of my time and everyone else time making fun of Royal Caribbean and so how humiliating it must be for you to have to come and say that Carnival is doing the same. It’s time for you to stop writing this stupid blog and for you to retire. You are a not popular on CC and are thought of as a fraud. Go home, lose weight and make room for better cruise directors.

John Says:
Hello Lemurcat,

This will most probably the last time I reply to any of your comments. I only do so now out of respect to the majority of people who read Cruise Critic whose opinion I value and some of whom are friends of mine. If you have something constructive to say then I will be here to answer you.

Until then I send you my best wishes.

Tiffany Bruce Asked:

My curiosity finally peaked tonight when you mentioned Greg Kneale in your blog. I have wanted to ask you about something for a while. My first cruise which was my honeymoon on the Carnival Destiny on February 22, 1998 was so wonderfully memorable. I clearly remember the Bedtime Story, because it was so hilarious. The odd thing is that on the Carnival Capers it said that my Cruise Director was Greg Kneale. I know the Bedtime Story is a signature of yours and that you were on the Carnival Destiny for a time in February 1998. So, I was wondering if perhaps I actually sailed with you after all? I can’t find my Capers anymore, but I’m certain that Greg Kneale’s name was on there. I just remember the CD being very funny, and since you look similar, that doesn’t help much!

Twelve years later, we still love Carnival and I actually turn Platinum on our 12/16/10 Carnival Triumph sailing, which is exciting! I have introduced many family members to cruising. I have a 3 year old which will be on her 3rd cruise and I’ll actually be pregnant on this cruise, so I won’t feel guilty about indulging in all the great food!

I do have two requests, the most important is that on Eastern Caribbean cruises from New Orleans, LA, could we PLEASE have a port stop at Half Moon Cay? It looks like the most heavenly place! I’d gladly trade out one of the other stops in order to be able to go there. We are so happy that New Orleans is getting two ships again, this would be icing on the cake.

Secondly, I’d love it if you’d include the number of Platinum guests on each voyage. I always look at the demographics of each sailing that you post on your blog and since I’ll be joining the ranks of Platinum soon, I’m curious as to how many there are in relation to other guests.

Thank you for your blog and your dedication to your readers. And I hope you enjoy it as much as it appears you do. Don’t ever change! I also look forward to hearing about whether I cruised with you or Greg, or maybe both!

In fun,
Tiffany Bruce

John Says:
Hello Tiffany Bruce,

It was Greg Kneale you sailed with as in 1998 I was on the then brand new Carnival Triumph. Greg took over from me on the Carnival Destiny and this means he sailed with me for 2 weeks watching what I did and much of what I did…….he…… ummm……..borrowed. This included the Bedtime Story which was and still is my signature thingy.

Oh well……..I guess I should be flattered rather back then wanting to put a pair of Heidi’s stilettos on and kick him hard in the bollocks. Greg was a funny chap though for sure and a great CD and now has a fantastic restaurant in PV……..the thieving sod. Seriously though, he was a superb CD and a good friend and he still is.

I can understand why you want to go to Half Moon Cay as it is a true slice of paradise. I don’t know of any plans to send the Carnival Triumph there at the moment though but as you head toward Platinum status I am sure you will have the chance to visit this gorgeous island on one of the many ships that sail there.

I can’t publish the number of Platinum guests onboard each cruise as that is what the office classify as “top secret” as apparently the opposition would love to know that information. I can tell you that more and more and more guests have reached or are close to reaching Platinum status and that our Chief Marketing Officer Jim Berra is looking at our reward program and what we can do to make it even better. News on this will be forthcoming. Thanks for taking the time to write and for your kind words and……..you cruised with Greg…………which in a way means you sailed with me as well.

Best wishes and hope to see you soon.

Elizabeth Asked:
John, Please Reply

Since I use a mobility scooter onboard I need a slightly wider door. I don’t need a whole modified cabin. The Magic isn’t complete yet so could there possibly be a wider door be put on a Cove Cabin? Most of the modified cabins seem to be inside and I so love balconies!

John Says:
Hello Elizabeth,

Let me check today on this Elizabeth. I know that we cannot make any structural changes to the ship now but I have asked someone to check on whether any of the cove balconies do have wider doors or not. I will hopefully have answer no late than tomorrow’s blog for you.

Best wishes

Jordyn Asked:
Hello John! (pretty PLEASE reply!)

First of all, I’d like to let you know what a phenomenal time I had on my first ever cruise last week on the Elation. Everybody was so fantastic.

The most memorable people were: Jena-something (sorry, I never did get the rest of her name) even though she, from the very first day, remembered mine and my whole family’s.

There was one man who was supposed to sweep up Tiffany’s, the little restaurant thingy, when me and a few friends stopped to get ice cream. There was hardly anyone else in there so he came over to our table and started showing us magic tricks and even taught us some! He was so cool. But still, always on the look out for someone to get up so he could sweep under their table. True professional.

Then there was a photographer named Josip from Serbia who was super nice, insanely smart and really fun to talk to whenever he wasn’t busy selling pictures. I’ll definitely miss him.

I never did get to tell those people though that they were the ones that made the vacation memorable. But I really do hope they feel appreciated and I wish there was some way to get that message to them

Now, as that’s done, my inquiry. I MUST work on a cruise ship, but not just any cruise ship, a Carnival cruise ship. In as few words as I can put it, this is so directly up my alley and I realized that within the first day on the ship and cried when I had to get off. Problem is, I don’t turn 18 for a few more months and I graduate high school (with a 3.87, I might add) in April. But maybe that’s not a problem. I have more time to prepare for a job, maybe?

What are your recommendations for what I should do until then and how should I go about it once I turn 18 and graduate? I initially wanted to work with one of the children programs but I know I have to be 21 to do that. So I would kill to be part of the entertainment staff. I am such a people person and was head over heels in love with being at sea, meeting so many new people from so many different places and the nonstop go-go-go of the crew’s ship life. So PLEASE help me!

Thank you so much,

John Says:
Hello Jordyn,

Thanks so much for the great report on your Carnival Elation cruise. It is so kind of you to sit down and write about how some of the crew made your experience so fantastic. I will make sure that they all get to read your report and that a copy of this is placed on their file. It is often the case that when people cruise on a Carnival ship they get the idea of wanting to work onboard. Obviously the first thing I need to tell you and everyone else who is thinking about a cruise ship career is that the difference between cruising as a guest as working as a crew member is a big one indeed. It’s like comparing waking up next to Megan Fox one morning and Judge Judy the next.

However, it is a rewarding career for sure and please be aware of the many websites that offer a list of cruise ship jobs providing you pay them a fee. I am hearing more and more about this scam so please be aware that all that many will give you is a list of cruise line addresses that are available on the world wide web for free.

Crack on with the books and finish your education and meanwhile I encourage you to have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com which will give you a good idea of what the job of entertainment staff is all about and how to apply. I wish you much success.

Best wishes

Jane Asked:
Please reply if you get time…..and admit you bellowed ‘BUGGER!’ when told about the pay-for-a-steak pilot scheme, after all the times you’ve lampooned Royal Caribbean for charging for their post-midnight beef-eatery 🙂

Hope the health and safety meeting wasn’t as bad as you feared,

John Says:
Hello Jane,

Yes I did indeed shout “bugger” but had to retract the bugger and shout “yippee” when I realised that we were adding steakhouse items and unlike other cruise lines still offered a brilliant flat iron steak at no extra charge each and every night. By the way, reports are that these steakhouse items we are testing on three ships are very popular indeed and I am not surprised by that at all. Thanks for continuing to read the blog thingy.

Best wishes

Dan Lee Asked:
John Please Reply:

I would first like to say, thanks to you and to all of the
ships crew and staff. We took a behind the fun tour on the Dream last year and saw how much work it takes to operate a ship like the Dream. On our last family cruise on the Glory our dinning table was on the outside of the dinning room behind a pole, it was hard to see all of the waiters singing and dancing. Could you ask the Maitre d’ when he assigns the tables if he could seat our group of 4 in the center part of the dinning room so we could see everything.

I e-mailed Guest Solutions about my request and they said to contact the Maitre’d after boarding, by that time he would have already assigned all the tables.

I know you receive a lot of request and I’m sure we will enjoy our dinning at any table.

Daniel Lee

John Says:
Hello Daniel,

I am glad you are returning to Carnival for another cruise and I have asked my friend the maitre d on your Carnival Dream to do his best to seat you accordingly. Have a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to you and the family

Janey – (OKGIRL) Asked:
John (Please reply);

I have read in the past that Carnival is reviewing Platinum/VIP embarkation/debarkation procedures at the various embarkation ports.

This continues to be a hit or miss room for improvement issue in most ports. I’m wondering a couple of things:

1st. When do you anticipate that more standardized methods will be put into practice in each of the home ports? The 9/26 sailing on the Carnival Conquest still left quite a bit of room for improvement. Especially at debarkation back in Galveston. The Platinum/VIPs were once again forgotten, until there were already general self assist’s being called off.

The order should be quite simple:
VIP Self Assist (assembled in a lounge)
VIP Luggage Tag 1 (assembled in a lounge)
Non-VIP Luggage Tag 1 (called by decks)
General Self Assist (called by decks)
General Luggage Tags (called by decks)

2nd On our upcoming BC4 cruise, I’m sure that as in the past there will be an unusually large group of VIP/Platinum guests. Rather than use the VIP lounge in Miami are you considering having a special VIP queue with a shoreside agent directing the VIP queue to the next available agent at the large desk?

This worked VERY well on BC3 last December in PC. I hope this is the case in Miami as well. The VIP lounge in Miami is lovely for a normal sailing, but not when expecting 100s of VIP/Platinum guests.

John Says:
Hello Janey ( OK GIRL)

As you may have read in a question I answered above the Platinum reward program is right at the top of the list of subjects that the senior beards are currently looking at. I have heard that the embarkation and debarkation of our Platinum guests is mostly excellent. I agree that we do have some room for improvement when it comes to embarkation in Galveston and I’m sure that we will get better with our new facilities needed for your Carnival Magic.

As for the debarkation list you included in your posting I checked with Marvin the hotel director just now and he confirmed that this is exactly how they are disembarking guests off the Carnival Conquest at the moment. If you did not find this to be the case then I apologise and have asked Marvin to look into this and knowing him as I do and the fantastic hotel director that he is ……….. I know he will give this top priority.

You are of course correct that on BC4 we will have a lot of Platinum guests although I don’t think hundreds there will be lots. I am going to do a full roll call later this week as I have a meeting next week to discuss the cruise and of course I shall take your reminder about embarkation with me as it’s a good point indeed. See you soon.

Best wishes

Tracy Asked:
John please respond. We are going on a cruise in 2011. But my daughter will be going also she has a disability, cerebral palsy. She will be in a wheelchair. She will be 21 when we go. But would u be able to let her go to Circle C. she don’t drink at all. And it would be fun for her. And does Carnival have handicap rooms? She can’t walk at all. She has a motorised wheelchair. Just curious haven’t decided on a cruise yet. Waiting for new itineraries.

John Says:
Hello Tracy,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me about your daughter. I think you meant to ask if she can attend Club O2 which is our teen club that usually has an age limit of 15 – 17. I will certainly ask for you and have someone contact you accordingly.

Now as for the cabin may I ask if you have booked a room already? If so did you ask your travel agent or PVP or anyone at Carnival for a room that has facilities for guests in wheelchairs? We do have them on every ship and certainly from what you have told me it would make sense for you to have one of these. Please contact whoever you booked through and tell them this so that they can change your cabin appropriately. If you need my help with anything at all please make sure you let me know.

Best wishes to you and your daughter.

That’s all for today……..I will be back with more tomorrow. Thanks to you all for all the great comments.

I have received lots of requests for The Chefs Table this past week or so and I wanted to assure you they have been sent to the ships today and you will receive confirmation shortly.

I just want to follow up on the priest program for Christmas and the rather sad news is that as we stand right now only the Carnival Freedom has a priest sailing over the Christmas cruise. I will investigate further into this and will let you know if this situation changes. I must admit it’s very disappointing news.

Now before we continue today I want to show you something that made me ooze with pride. I promised though that I would move on and stop talking about the Carnival Splendor incident but ………………when I saw this I had to share it with you. Now before I do it would be easy for some to say I glued this onto today’s blog as some form of excessive self pandering. But honestly, that isn’t the case. The reason I am showing you this is because of whom the author is.

Way back in 1988 I was an assistant bar manager and a bloody awful one at that. Making me a bar manager was like asking Paris Hilton to play Mary Poppins. Anyway, back then I would stand and watch the cruise director……….not just any cruise director………..but the king of cruise directors…..and I dreamed of being him………..but without the Dukes of Hazard type accent.

The guests loved him beyond measure and with his boy next door style and his charm, grace and brilliant sense of humour (spelt correctly) he was recognised as being the best in the industry. But it was his incomparable ventriloquist act that gave him that extra something special. His two friends Mr and Mrs Twee would have the audience in stitches and then………in tears as they reminisced about their 60 years together by singing “I remember it well.” It was a sight to see …..truly it was. He was a smart man and realised that I was the world’s worst assistant bar manager so after I was fired for punching the bar manager and breaking his nose…… yep…. that’s a true story and one I have never spoken of before here on the blog…….I will tomorrow maybe ……. I was fired. But thanks to some people in the office and with the cruise director’s agreement I was hired the same day as a social host.

And so began my career in the entertainment profession. I had never held a microphone before but thanks to this chap I was able to learn from the absolute master and to this day if anyone ever asks me “Who is the best cruise director in the world?”……..the answer from is instantaneous and never changing…………..Gary Hunter.

Gary now works for Crystal Cruises and if you ask any cruise professional from any cruise line who they regard as the best of the best ………they will all tell you it’s Gary. Hopefully this preface will explain just how proud then I am to have received this e-mail from Gary.

Praise for John Heald from one Cruise Director to another.

Hello everyone. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gary Hunter and I have been a Ventriloquist / Cruise Director for 35 years. My first ship was Carnival’s TSS Mardi Gras in 1975 and I was with the company till the end of 1990. Working at Carnival was an experience that changed my life forever. I am still grateful for the opportunity they gave me as a young performer at the age of 21. With that little bit of history I will now get to the point of this posting.

I was assigned as Cruise Director to bring the cruise ship ‘Fantasy’ into the Carnival fleet in March of 1990. With that assignment I was allowed to select four personal assistants, one of whom was a gentleman working in the Bar Department as Assistant Manager. His name was John Heald.

John and I became friends on another Carnival ship. I saw him as a professional, a personality and an amazing wit. He was destined to be a Cruise Director. Needless to say, our friendship grew and he became my ‘right hand’ and ‘go to guy’. Now don’t get me wrong. The other three assistants were also excellent. However John could take the microphone and work a crowd like no one I had ever seen. He was a natural leader. I believe that anyone who has cruised on a Carnival ship with John as the Cruise Director would attest to just how talented he is.

His true leadership and ability to direct the crew and guests on the Carnival Splendor through this most difficult event has to be praised. With all the training that crew members go through, one only hopes that they will conduct themselves in a professional manner during an emergency. From what I have read, the training of the crew of the Splendor and the way they handled themselves speaks volumes about the Carnival Corporation and the guidance of the Captain and Sr. Officers aboard the ship.

During an emergency Cruise Directors are assigned to the Bridge to make announcements as needed and instructed by the Captain. That steady voice of the most recognizable person on the ship, the Cruise Director, can provide a sense of calm ship wide. That is what John was able to do. He was up to the task, making the announcements without a script while improvising with just the right amount of humor. He conducted himself as all Cruise Directors would hope to do under similar conditions.

After reading John’s blog of the event, from which we can all learn, I thought that every Cruise Director should be proud that one of our own stood tall and represented everything for which we aspire to be in an emergency… calm, cool and collected under pressure.
I am one such Cruise Director who applauds John.
Thank you John!

How proud I personally am of you, my friend. And to think I was there at the beginning!

God Bless you and your family.

Gary Hunter
Cruise Director
Crystal Cruises

Thanks Gary……words cannot describe what that meant to me. I hope many of you reading this will know now whom I have to thank for being the CD I am today.

OK, as promised this week I am going to highlight some of our piano bar entertainers. I know for many of you that the piano bars are some of your favourite areas on our ships. I know that posting these wonderful entertainers may provoke the smoking subject again so I am hoping we can ignore that this time and revel in the fact that these guys and girls are a focal part of our onboard entertainment. Now here’s the first of our highlighted performers and I should point out that I am posting them only in the order they were received. So let’s then meet Tom

Name: Tom Riccio

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale

Short Bio: Tom has been working in cruise industry since 2004, and has been with Carnival Cruise Lines for about 1 year. He is a self taught pianist, and also guitar and bass. Of his style of entertaining in the piano bar, Tom says, “I play a wide variety of music – from Frank Sinatra to Pink Floyd – and I prefer taking requests. I’m here for them. That’s my philosophy.”

Most Requested Song: “I don’t keep track, but it seems to be neck and neck between “Tiny Dancer” and “Piano Man”

Best Part about Working for Carnival Cruise Lines: “I get to do what I was born to do.”

There will be another featured entertainer tomorrow.

Now have a quick look at this………………as I will be referring to it again in a moment.

Turn the TV on here in the UK and there is only one thing on the news….and that of course is the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Yep, in 2011 we will have a Royal Wedding ……….oh joy. This means we will have endless hours of coverage of the dress, the guests, the Royal Family who try their hardest to welcome the bride’s family but obviously can’t because they are not posh enough and had to buy their own furniture.

It means mugs and plates and souvenirs galore and we will have film of it all. Then we will have TV coverage of the honeymoon which if they are smart will be take on their Carnival Magic. Yep, a nice Med cruise would be just the thing and maybe I can get them a discount. Prince William could be in the hairy chest contest and Princess Kate could play Mary in the bedtime story.

OK, I have entered the realms of fantasy there but what I would really like to see will be something that the cameras won’t be recording for prosperity or a BBC documentary……. Prince William’s stag night. This apparently is being arranged by his brother Prince Harry who you might know is a party animal and a lover of champagne and bottoms. I can only imagine the kind of stag night he is going to arrange for his “bro.”

Stag parties are far more extreme then in days gone past already before Prince Harry and his unlimited pile of royal cash gets started. In the old days, the groom would be tied naked to a fence and nothing more would be said. Or he’d just go down the pub with his Dad and some mates for a beer or two.

The modern stag weekend is no longer a warm hearted rite of passage. It is now a chance to humiliate the groom and usually involves a stripper called Carla who by the time she has stripped down naked and the groom has his head between her silicone breasts realises that her name isn’t Carla but Carl and she is a he and the best man and his mates are now in hysterics……the bastards. Yep…..if the groom doesn’t wake up the morning after with some kind of root vegetable in his bottom then the evening will not be thought of as a success.

And based on Prince Harry and his chums reputation I am sure Prince William can look forward to a night of booze, nipples and lots more. The rumour here in the British press is that that may end up at a private party in the VIP rooms at Spearmint Rhino which is …….allegedly………a lap dancing club in London. Now just before I end today’s blog please go back and look at the photo of the £20 note I just posted.

Good………so there you have Prince William…….two days before getting married live on TV to an audience of millions around the world in a strip club. It’s your last day of freedom and as a Prince of the Realm and future King of Great Britain you have done your best to forget about the pressures of being a royal. To help you release this pressure your brother has organised a stag night at a strip club and right now you have a bottle of Krug champagne in one hand and a Latvian’s breast in the other.

She whispers in your ear that for an extra £20 she will do something naughty……you look around ……..there are no cameras…………no paparazzi……you are not a Prince…….you are just a guy on a stag night with a naked Latvian on your lap. You have forgotten you are a royal and for £20 Nora Titov will do something naughty……..so you reach in your pocket and pull out a £20 note. You are about to slip it into her G-string when suddenly you look at that £20 and see your grandmother’s face staring back at you and the royal thingy takes an immediate bow.

Your friend

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.